Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 15, 2018

The Value of Robustness: Promotion or Protection?

Benjamin Ferguson


Philip Pettit has argued that the goods of attachment, virtue, and respect are robust goods in the sense that they require both the actual provision of certain benefits and the modally robust provision of these benefits. He also claims that we value the robustness of these goods because it diminishes our vulnerability to others. I question whether robustness really reduces vulnerability and argue that even if it does, vulnerability reduction is not the reason we value robustness. In place of Pettit’s account, I defend a promotional account of the value of robustness. I argue that we value robustness because it increases the probability we will enjoy a certain kind of benefit.


Parts of this paper were presented at the University of St. Gallen. I thank those present for their comments. I also thank Vuko Andrić, Susanne Burri, Sebastian Köhler, and Philip Pettit for helpful suggestions.


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Published Online: 2018-6-15
Published in Print: 2018-6-26

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